Hopefully, by now, we’ve convinced you that spirituality is an important part of senior life. And perhaps you’ve already started the conversation or even pursued activities that support spiritual exploration. There are a lot of resources out there that can help you explore spirituality, in many ways. We thought it would be helpful to give you a starter list.
General Sources of Materials:
- Local Discussion Groups
- Electronic Spirituality Communities*
*A word of caution: sometimes it is hard to find a good fit in your community or sometimes a senior is homebound and can’t access a spiritual community in the traditional way. So, they turn to finding it from the radio, television or Internet. Many of these communities are legitimate, but some prey on vulnerable elders and ask for money. If you are an elder, be very careful about sending money to these organizations. If you have a senior in your life, pay attention to these activities, to ensure that no one is taking advantage of your loved one.
Caring.com has a section on their website dedicated to spiritual practices around dying and grieving. This can help to foster supportive end of life discussions as well as spiritual ways to handle loss, which many seniors experience more often, as their peers and partners pass on.
Forum on Religion, Spritituality and Aging (FORSA): A part of the American Society on Aging, FORSA is “a national, multidisciplinary and nondenominational community of professionals committed to examining and fostering the spiritual dimension of human existence as a central element in the aging process and to fostering an appreciation for the importance of incorporating an awareness of this dimension into all the disciplines that make up the world of gerontology.” This group is comprised of:
- Clergy and theologians
- Pastoral counselors
- Chaplains and caregivers
- Social workers and nurses
- Layworkers and staff of religious organizations and agencies
- Educators and seminarians
- Lay leadership working in congregational community settings
- Aging network agencies
- Conscious aging proponents
- Anyone interested in ethics
They create discussion and provide resources through conferences, online articles, web seminars and awards programs.
Aging and Disability Resource Center: Anchorage’s ADRC is a good place to start when looking for programs, organizations and education that support senior wellness and spiritual exploration.
Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska, as with many Alzheimer’s organizations, is invested in serving people with dementia and their families—and a part of this involves attention to the spirit.
Alaska Center for Mindfulness helps people of all ages to work through challenges in life, by helping them to connect with their inner awareness.
Anchorage Meetups are groups founded by Alaskans, centered on a specific interest or theme. They offer spiritually based groups, but also a range of activities that foster creativity and learning.
Anchorage Senior Activity Center provides a gathering place for seniors with opportunities for recreation, education, socializing and exploration.
Looking into these resources should give you a good foundation for spiritual exploration in the context of aging. It might even open doors you never thought were there!